|Holzinger cross-examines Meg Kyle|
Testimony during the hearing established that the proposed billboard is approximately 500' away from another digital display, in violation of a zoning ordinance that requires a separation of 1000.'
Attorney Jim Holzinger, representing competitor Tri-Outdoor, provided zoners with caselaw in which courts have strictly interpreted ordinances establishing distances between billboards. He argued that Lamar would have to establish a hardship, no matter how many public service announcements are displayed.
Holzinger also complained that there already are two freestanding and four wall signs at the site. ZHB member Linda Shay Gardner questioned the relevance of other signs, to which Holzinger retorted, "We don't want drivers distracted."
Currently, there are six digital billboard in Bethlehem, owned by Adams Outdoor and Tri-Outdoor.
Kyle vowed to return with an application for a static billboard.
In other business, zoners gave Lehigh Valley Community Mental Health Centers (LVCMHC) a green light for administrative offices and a training facility at the former St. John's Capistrano Church, located at 902-910 E. 4th Street. President Melissa Martinez assured zoners that "no client services" will be provided at the site.
Established in 1996, LVCMHC has five locations, with its biggest located directly across the street from the church. Martinez estimates that 10-15 new jobs will be added to the 40-person employment roster at her company.
Realtor Connie Ulans told zoners that Bethlehem refuses to allow church demolitions, but they are actually "albatrosses" that are difficult to sell. She noted that the church is too large to convert to a house economically.
|Rachel Haddad thought she was buying a two-unit dwelling|
She purchased 1210 Linden Street as an investment property. It was listed as a two-unit building in county and multi-list records. She met the tenant of the upstairs apartment. She saw the separate kitchens, bathrooms and doors. But at closing, she learned for the first time that City records consider it a single family dwelling
Her Realtor, Tom Demshock, testified that the entire block was built by a developer who put up multi-family units. He also produced a City Directory establishing that, since at least 1949, there were two units at the site.
Attorney Thomas Schlegel, representing Haddad, argued that the expense of deconversion justified a variance. Haddad added that she will decline to purchase the property unless there are two units. "I would not want to eject a tenant who's been there for thirty years," she stated.
She won't have to because zoners unanimously agreed to a variance for a two-unit dwelling.
Zoners gave David Burian a green light for an enclosed porch at the rear of his residence on 1930 Fenway Avenue. They will permit retired educator George "Skip" John to build a porch roof at the rear of his 5 E. Taurus residence. Finally, they allowed Richard and Elizabeth Elterich to construct an addition to their home at 2705 Lafayette Avenue.
Elizabeth sat through a number of hearings on two different nights before her case was heard. Zoners apologized for making her wait, but she responded, "It was a great civics lesson."